How the Creation Kit and Steam will Immortalize Skyrim

From day one, Skyrim was quite possibly the biggest game ever released. From the massive scope of the world to the number of characters and quests held within, it has always been extremely easy to lose track of time while exploring the icy landscape.

But when it was announced that the modding community — which Bethesda has always embraced — would be able to release mods via Valve’s Steam Workshop hit, the possibilities for Skyrim customization became virtually limitless. The ability to both install and distribute mods by way of Steam immediately provided a boost to the PC version of the game and also put the spotlight on the burgeoning modding scene. Rarely does such a massively-popular game enable its players to actively manipulate every aspect of it, but Bethesda’s Skyrim Creation Kit allows players to do just that. To demonstrate just how malleable their game was, Bethesda staff even began releasing their own mods.

As a result, playing a game like Skyrim on an Xbox or a PS3 simply cannot compare to the same experience on a PC. Being able to add new content or features at a whim is something that will keep a PC game alive long after the sequel has come out, long after the console players have moved on to other games or gone back to Despite their occasional missteps, Bethesda must be commended for trusting their fans and allowing them to transform their games into, essentially, living and breathing entities that can evolve over time.

While past Elder Scrolls games have had their share of mods, those that are continuously popping up for Skyrim have simply been mindblowing in terms of both quality and variety. Even Valve got involved, releasing a Space Personality Core mod for Skyrim that has the little talkative ball of metal from Portal 2 plummet through the atmosphere and crash-land in Skyrim, allowing you to pick it up and take it with you on your journey.

New areas, new weapons, new mechanics, new NPCs, dialogue, story… Skyrim is an absolutely massive game, but enabling modding means that each Elder Scrolls or Fallout game tends to outlast its RPG competitors by a considerable amount. Other game developers could learn a thing or two from this – by making a game moddable, you make it more appealing. Now if we could just get mod support for consoles, we might see a complete revolution and the destruction of the exploitative and repugnant DLC model. Win-win, right?

April 25th, 2012